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Grilled Asparagus & Onions with Balsamic Vinegar & Blue Cheese

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Serves ten to twelve as a side dish.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 86

This warm salad with its rich ingredients is just the thing for a cool early- or late-summer get-together. The tanginess of the balsamic adds some bounce to the blue cheese and complements the sweetness of the grilled vegetables and figs.

  • 2-1/2 lb. asparagus (about 2 large bunches), trimmed
  • 8 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion (such as Vidalia), cut into 1/2-inch disks and threaded onto metal skewers
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 3 oz. good-quality blue cheese, crumbled (3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced dried Black Mission figs (preferably small ones)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

Heat a gas grill to medium or prepare a medium charcoal fire.

Put the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tbs. of the oil, and season with 1/2 tsp. of the salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Turn to coat. Grill the asparagus (covered on a gas grill) until they have nice grill marks, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue cooking until tender and browned, about 4 more minutes; transfer to a large platter. Reduce the heat on the gas grill to medium low or let the charcoal burn down a bit.

On a rimmed baking sheet, coat the onions with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, and several grinds of pepper. Grill, covered, until tender and browned, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Return the onions to the baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the vinegar, and thyme. Toss the asparagus with about half the vinaigrette and then arrange neatly on the platter. Scatter the onions over the asparagus and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with the blue cheese, figs, and pine nuts, and serve; this can sit for up to 1 hour at room temperature.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on twelve servings; Calories (kcal): 150; Fat (g): fat g 13; Fat Calories (kcal): 120; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 2.5; Protein (g): protein g 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 8; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 200; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 5; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

this is one of my favorites. everytime i think asparagus i think this dish...i have also done it with goat cheese and it works great.

This is delicious--wouldn't change a thing. I've made it many times and it's always a hit. It's delicious with just about anything--from grilled chicken, to pork tenderloin--and even burgers.

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